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"I have used ReadWriteThink.org as a resource for several years, but last year when I cotaught for the first time, I realized the value of the versatility of the online student interactive tools. The student interactives enabled me to effectively educate each of my students at their individual levels."
Jennifer Smith's Story
Reaching All Students with ReadWriteThink.org
Last year I had the opportunity to coteach an eighth-grade language arts/literature class with a special education teacher in my building. There was a wide range of ability levels in the class of 25 students, and I was determined to make sure that each student was challenged at the appropriate level. Some students had writing difficulties so I relied heavily on technology to support my lessons and increase motivation.
One skill that many students found particularly difficult was punctuating dialogue. After reviewing dialogue rules, I decided to have students practice writing dialogue by giving them comic strips and asking them to write out the characters’ conversations. As I was looking for comics online, I discovered the interactive Comic Creator and decided it would be the perfect fit because I could vary the number of comic panels and the assignment requirements for each student.
Prior to using the Comic Creator, I asked students to write down and punctuate a few lines of dialogue, and I reviewed the dialogue with each of them to make sure it was written correctly. The next day I took students to the computer lab to use the Comic Creator. I gave students their written dialogue and had them create a comic strip to illustrate what they had written. Students then traded comics and wrote out the dialogue to see if it matched the dialogue page used to create the comic. Once the comic strips had been printed and colored, I hung them up in the hallway.
The Comic Creator was perfect for the project because it allowed for the use of the assistive technology required for some of my students. It gave all of my students the chance to be creative. Some of my students chose only to use backgrounds and speech bubbles from the interactive and drew in their own characters and props. Other students used the Comic Creator features for their entire comic strip. The lesson was such a hit that many of the students used their extra computer time to create dialogue and comics long after the lesson was finished.
Grades K – 12 | Student Interactive | Writing & Publishing Prose
The Comic Creator invites students to compose their own comic strips for a variety of contexts (prewriting, pre- and postreading activities, response to literature, and so on).
I have been teaching for six years, and I cannot imagine working in any other field. I enjoy challenging and encouraging my students to grow and learn on a daily basis. I continually strive to improve my teaching by taking graduate courses and attending workshops. When I am not in the classroom, I take pleasure in spending time with my children and my husband. I also enjoy reading, writing, and being outdoors.